ggarman at sunnetworks.net
Wed Aug 3 12:29:18 PDT 2005
The free exercise of religion cannot be prohibited, but religion is
not above the law, except in matters of opinion. The Free Exercise
Clause does not say the exercise of religion cannot be abridged, which
means reduced. The Free Exercise Clause plainly says the exercise of
religion cannot be prohibited, which means totally. All actions are
subject to the laws of the land which apply to all citizens equally,
regardless of religion.
In 1879 (Reynolds v. U.S.) wording of the Free Exercise Clause, as
written, was unanimously understood by the Court :
"Laws are made for the government of actions, and while they cannot
interfere with mere religious belief and opinions, they may with practices.
"Can a man excuse his practices ... because of his religious belief? To
permit this would be to make the professed doctrines of religious belief
superior to the law of the land, and in effect to permit every citizen
to become a law unto himself. Government could exist only in name under
"It matters not that his belief was a part of his professed religion; it
was still belief, and belief only."
The Free Exercise Clause, by its precise wording, is in complete harmony
with Reynolds v. U.S. The Free Exercise Clause does not forbid all
religion exercise, but it is not a license for anarchy; and, it makes no
exception for anyone. All actions are subject to rules of conduct
lawfully established, such as probation rules, regardless of religion
You can also refer to the unanimous decision of Davis v. Beason in 1890.
Gene Garman, M.Div.
America's Real Religion
Samuel V wrote:
>Can anyone point me to an article, preferably available online,
>discussing whether probation requirements violate free exercise? For
>example, is a free exercise problem created whensuch as when the
>effect of the restriction is to prohibit the probationer to attend the
>church of his choice (because he can't leave town, can't be near
>children, can't be near wine, etc.).
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